WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Robbie Fruean's hopes of reviving his career back at the Canterbury Crusaders this season have been left in tatters after he was sidelined for up to five months with a broken arm.
The hulking winger's career has been blighted by heart problems and he was released by the Waikato Chiefs at the end of 2014 after just one season and four Super Rugby appearances for the Hamilton-based outfit.
Picked up by his former team the Crusaders, he fractured his right arm during Saturday's 40-16 loss to the Chiefs and on Monday had surgery to insert a plate in the limb.
"We know that Robbie wanted to make this a great season so this is hugely disappointing for him," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said in a news release.
"We know that he will continue to contribute to the team while he is on the road to recovery and we hope that he is able to make a full recovery before the season is over."
Once considered an All Black in waiting, Fruean was the IRB under-19 Player of the Year in 2007 before a bout of rheumatic fever seriously damaged his heart.
The loss of the line-breaking back is a further blow to the notoriously slow-starting Crusaders, who have lost two of their first three matches of the new season.
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by John O'Brien)